tv [untitled] August 20, 2012 10:00pm-10:30pm EDT
support for planet money comes from a large bank looks like n.p.r. needs an ally one planet money reporter seems to have found it in a big bank and his coverage may be shielding his investors coming off our t.v. shows you who's profiting from the process of coverage. and working for the federal government means surrendering certain rights to privacy that much we know but when it comes to spying on employees big brother wrote the book i had a look at how far the government is willing to go to keep staffers in line. and is not just the federal government shelling out big bucks for the chance to spy american households are actually contributing to this surveillance society with everything from g.p.s. trackers it to in home cameras so could our own actions be paving the way to warrantless wiretapping.
we're going to begin today with a closer look at one of this country's most well known media outlets national public radio now for years and years n.p.r. news and programs are funded in part by the government and in part by listeners those who call in and pledge money and those who give big donations now over the recent years it has been more and more common to hear the names of sponsors on n.p.r. and it turns out there were even certain programs sponsored entirely by one company that may or may not influence the content of the program and let's take a look at today at one financial program planet money hosted by adam davidson when you click on to listen you're likely to hear this. support for planet money comes from ally bank and p.r. keeps people in the know so doe's ally customers can talk to a real person any time of day or night learn more at ally bank dot com well as it
turns out ally bank has among other things spent quite a bit of money lobbying against the creation of what is now the consumer financial protection bureau so it's no surprise that when planet money host adam davidson have the head of the c f p b elizabeth warren on for an interview that things got a little heated take a listen this crisis will not be over until the american family begins to recover this crisis does not exist and if you're in the right that's the no it is not my crisis that is america's crisis if people cannot pay their credit card bills if that you cannot pay their mortgages remote views on this issue. this of course just a snippet from the fifteen plus minute interview but we want to talk today with two journalists who allege this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to questionable practices by adam davidson and the planet money team and mark ames and yasha levine are the founders of the web site shame or shame on the hacks that
abuse that media ethics mark is here with me in washington yasha is in our studios in los angeles mark let me start with you and we'll get to some of the other things in a moment but let's just talk specifically about this interview definitely at several points in the interview got very fiery but why couldn't this just be adam davidson doing his job you know asking tough questions like journalists are supposed to do here's the thing when when this interview happened people were shocked nobody understood because you assume adam davidson is sort of this gee whiz dweeb you know guy just trying to discover what's going on just as much as the next person nobody knew that the sole funder of his sole fund or the guy who was paying him his money was allied bank which is g.-mac which was one of the poster child banks of of fraud subprime fraud foreclosure fraud it was. over seventeen billion dollars in bailout money and it had just arranged a deal with planet money to be their souls an exclusive sponsor and this wasn't
disclosed and at the same time that davidson attacked. elizabeth warren our bank was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and you know here in washington lobbying to kill what warren was trying to set up which is akin to a consumer protection agency and as we know it's not just sort of the sponsor of this program gosh i want to go to you now and have you talk about some of the paid speaking engagements davidson did you know who are they for and what's the big deal . well we don't know the full story but just some of the information that could be gleaned from. public information he's done a handful of speaking engagements over the past two years speaking at. conferences and events sponsored and funded by the some of the biggest banks in the world i'm talking about you know j.p. morgan bank of america. of course goldman sachs and in particular the most recent ones were about micro lending and micro finance but
it doesn't really matter because you know. these are this is a corporate speaking gigs usually they're paid pretty well paid we don't know how much he was paid for them because he davidson refuses to disclose that information and so does n.p.r. and won't provide it but we do know that he has appeared at multiple events sponsored by the wall street in the banking industry and he was presumably paid for them but. we didn't we did mention by adam davidson also contributes to the new york times magazine at times and both the new york times and n.p.r. have very strict policies about accepting paid speaking engagements and i know both have been questioned about this i believe by the observer and both have responded that he is not going against any company policy so why then should people be concerned. well i just we don't know what. standard they used to make to arrive at
that conclusion you know just from the information that we that we were able to gather and find the evidence is pretty pretty damning and shows that there is some conflict of interest there now they they but they won't release any information at all about the nature of the speaking engagements that davidson did how much was he paid what were you know what were the terms and so we they're not being transparent about the information about the process that they you know that they used to arrive at that conclusion that everything is ok we're supposed to trust them but you know to be honest there's not much trust you can really have much trust in them when they they've shown to be not engaging in good faith michaela and i just wanted to add to what you said on top it's not just that he's taking this money but it's also that he is promoting their positions he's promoting dream right wing neo liberal agenda over and over he's he writes that you know we need to squeeze the middle
class he writes that. you know we should basically warship wall street that everything that has made us happy in this world came from wall street literally wrote that in the new york times you know he's been promoting sweatshop labor he's been promoting like all kinds of crazy schemes and at the same time taking money from these guys so the real problem is when you're taking money from these people covertly and then you know and then promoting their agenda on n.p.r. you are centrally a product spokesman and davidson is a product spokesman but we don't we haven't been disclosed that fact and i should also add that chicago public media which is the public corporation that. that is a party as a partner in this has a specific policy that journalists should not take money from the subjects that they report on and he takes money from the subjects he reports on any reports positively on them and he promotes their agenda so it is a vial. asian they didn't say it's not a violation they just basically said no comment they took the fifth let me ask you
i mean let let's take this a little broader you know as much as we like to think of journalism i certainly do as sort of a higher calling a fourth estate in many cases it is still a business and that requires advertisers so how do you propose there be a better balance between keeping a journalistic outlet afloat and keeping it on a well this is not about even advertisers i mean you know having advertisers and hopefully have a diverse set of advertisers so you know you're not to conflicted on any issue or and if there is conflict you disclose that fact to your readers openly and you release information about how much you your publication or the you know the person or the show is receiving from from the sponsor if you're going to be reporting on the same a on issues that affect that sponsors bottom line but you know but this is you know the problem of davidson and a lot of other journalists who are engaged in similar sort of. have
a similar business plan i guess for their journalism career it's not about advertisers it's really about covert payments for that you receive from. the industries that you report on and you know this is just some talking about speaking fees and then the other aspect is planet money ally bank is not just the advertiser it is its sole exclusive sponsor so meaning that all the all the funding that that l.a. bank gets to do or most of it to do to stay on the air and to produce it shows comes from this one bank and it's we should say that that money is not the only place that this goes on but i know that you guys have recently written about this market talk about the same project how do you guys decide who to focus on. you know we have discussions between ourselves and with other journalists that work
with sort of. provide help to us and when say there's you know there's not like a strict objective standard it's sort of would you say this is because we're trying more and more common that this goes no there's no doubt i mean look at columbia journalism school that is that a study that the ratio of p.r. people to journalists in one thousand nine hundred about one to one and now it's about four to one actually now it's probably a lot worse because forty one was in two thousand and eight and you know journals impression and that doesn't include all the mountain gladwell than adam davidson and all these basically covert products spokesmen that are fronting as as journalists so you know look this makes it hard for us to do our jobs when we're trying to do real journalism because these these people act as trolls just like adam davidson when you listen to what he did to elizabeth warren nobody know if everybody knew that he was being paid by ally bank that would have ended it there
had been no question and he's unwilling to do that right now from two thousand and nine thousand two thousand and that was great and this is sort of just coming out exactly it's just coming out now three years later now there were a few people that complained at the time and as usual the ombudsman said. the ombudsman called these people cynical. they basically have no argument it's obviously corrupt there is no excuse for it whatsoever so you just impugn the you know the intentions of the accused and so we're almost out of time let me just and let me just and really quick with you and for journalist that i mean is making money off a story you think it's the ultimate ethical issue. make you know well of course everyone has to make a living but no it's not the ultimate goal you know you don't go into journalism to make a fortune that's different but yeah absolutely certainly an issue though as we go into journalism to fight power right right not see what i get into bed i've got to all right well really good to talk to both of you shane website founders markings
and yasha levine thanks so much for coming on the show today. so i had on our team it's no big secret that big brother likes to pry but not just on suspected enemies of the state turns out the u.s. government is spending billions to monitor its own employees up next we'll show you how far it's willing to go to protect state secrets.
i want to talk now about surveillance on the government level and the ways in which it's increasing despite calls for more transparency last month we told you how several employees at the food and drug administration were the targets of a major surveillance program by their employer after it got out that they were reporting concerns they had to lawmakers and other officials well it turns out the f.d.a. is not alone and i want to put this in perspective here in total there are four point four four three million federal government employees according to a count made in two thousand and ten last year non intelligence agencies spent five point six billion dollars to quote safeguard classified information and the f.d.a. was one of the first to establish the total surveillance on employees including personal e-mails the program used by federal agencies is called specter three sixty
and it can read comments posted on social networking sites and gain full access to hard disk data just director of national security and human rights is the director of the government accountability project is here she's also the author of the book traitor the whistleblower and the american taliban jesselyn good to see you again i know that we sort of really talked about this when the information came out about the f.d.a. let me just ask you quickly what do you know about this specter three sixty just that it can really drill down on everything you're doing including keystrokes including facebook posts including screenshots everything now from what i understand i mean the current policy as a federal employee i know tons of people here in washington who work for the government when you log on to your computer as you see something that lets you know a banner saying you have no reasonable expectation of privacy you know your personal e-mail account can be monitored especially when you're at work that can be accessed through
a government computer so i mean isn't this just par for the course if you work for the government should you expect that you're monitored well i think all government employees in today's climate. i realize that they have a limited expectation of privacy at work the problem is when you start drilling down specifically in targeting certain people especially whistleblowers who are supposed to be protected. you end up putting them in a lose lose kind of situation it seems to me in the case of the f.d.a. at least i mean that this system worked exactly right employees who work for the organization were concerned about the products they were concerned for people's safety so they told lawmakers that seems to me an example of things working right having their employer then come crack down harder on them seems to be a system gone wrong well yeah and in this case the f.d.a. was monitoring their communications with congress and their communications with the
office of special counsel and you have her first amendment right to communicate with congress that the lose lose proposition is that it was lower now can either remove incriminating information from his or her agency and be charged with the espionage act or they can go ahead and complain to congress or the inspector general or the office of special counsel the their work computer and risk being monitored and fired and retaliated against in numerous kinds of ways for that from what i'm hearing just went on and i'm wondering if you're hearing the same that in a lot of federal agencies that employees are sort of freaking out about all this that that they're learning more and more that this goes on and it's making them less apt to come forward for fear of retaliation are you hearing that you know the same and what do you think the impact of this could be i think what's having
a bigger chilling effect is the fact that we have a crackdown an unprecedented crack it down on whistleblowers for allegedly mishandling. allegedly classified information in these are really people trying to expose fraud waste abuse and crime and i think these very public prosecutions of people under the espionage act is what's having the real the real chilling message we've been hearing of the espionage act talked about pretty recently in regards to what he leaks founder julian assange i know he has been sort of you know in the ecuadorian embassy for the last few months he's been told he is welcome to have asylum there. and he says his concern as far as being extradited to sweden for questioning is that sweden will then be able to have him extradited to the united states he says he fears he'll be tried under the u.s. has been attacked and he did speak to the public over the weekend i want to play
just a little bit about what he said the united states must renounce its witch hunt against wiki leaks. the united states must design its f.b.i. investigation. the united states must know that it will not seek to prosecute. oil supporters. the united states must pledge before the wall that it will not pursue journalists for siding shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful. so julian assange is calling for some pretty serious changes to be made a what are the what's the likelihood that some of these things will be you know some of these wishes will be heeded the likelihood right now is not high but my clients three of whom he personally called out thomas drake and william binney and john kiriakou are extremely grateful that aside in his very brief
speech saw fit to mention them i think there's an accusation out there that joined us on just only about joey in a songe and clearly he cares about the plight of whistleblowers who like him are being criminally pursued under the espionage act and there are persistent rumors that there is an indictment against julian massage here in the u.s. and they want to try him that has been made public at and he has not been charged yet so so you know a lot of people are saying you know what's the what's the big hoopla he has been charged why is he why is he so concerned well the big hoopla is that neither the united states nor sweden promised not to extradite him if they got their hands on him so it's very much seems to imply that the sexual assault
allegations or there have been no charges filed but there those are pretext to get him to a country that has a history of expediting people to the u.s. . to be torture. let's kind of get back to sort of what what we're seeing though within federal agencies i know that the five people involved in the surveillance operation at the f.d.a. have filed a lawsuit but what course of action do people in the federal government have when it comes to defending themselves from being prosecuted in persecuted for their actions well whistleblowers under the whistleblower protection act can make claims of fraud waste abuse and dangerous to public health and safety to the u.s. office of special counsel one of the big loopholes is that that does not cover intelligence employees or national security whistleblowers who are arguably the ones you would most want to hear from yeah it's really interesting so often when we
do hear about surveillance operations most people think we're talking about you know defense and military and cia and it's really not just that there's a whole lot of other things going on that people need to be aware of great to have you on giving us your insight jesselyn radack director of national security and human rights with the government accountability project thank you and it's not just millions of dollars for the growing surveillance needs for u.s. government purposes something else is going on as well the household video surveillance market is now estimated by some to reach around twenty five billion dollars in the next four years and it's no surprise take a look. and we can monitor everything twenty four seven to get someone who could maybe even when i'm working late i'm always close to home as arriving home monitoring control i'm unlocking the front door with my daughter for good strategic i can even turn off the life in my teenage years to get my family things i have i am free. to do i want to make sure she says so she travels with a g.p.s.
tracker that way i can check with her anytime i just want to give her a really quick shout out to all my friends about this really cool thing that we invented here a progressive snapshot. of color a different way to see them car insurance. better drive the more you can say. no wonder that shops catching on. well it turns out something else is going on as well our cell phones have become more than just a way to communicate they've also become a useful tool for law enforcement to weed out criminals and as of last week the justice system says that's ok the u.s. circuit court of appeals ruled that americans have no reasonable expectation of privacy when carrying cell phones a rule that can allow police to track a g.p.s. signals without a warrant or probable cause to dig a little deeper into this i was joined earlier by our two producer angie blake and i asked him first of all just how common this surveillance business really is. well
you said it would you say by two thousand and sixteen we're expecting twenty six billion dollars this industry alone in within the last decade more specific less two or three years we saw this huge transition where telecom companies you know places where you're talking like horizon yeah and places are going to get a cell phone contract landline contracts broadband cable internet all that stuff those companies have also in the last couple of years entered the home surveillance market which is great because that's one going to have everything streamlined to one bill you don't have to worry about pain you know a.d.t. one thing in time warner another no you can have the same company that information over telephone wires fiber optic cables those same people can see exactly what's happening in your house and they realize that they can make a ton of money by doing that and they have men and so the surveillance market really has been picking up in the last couple of years but it's just. about to get to it you know if we go to this case about six sort of appeals it's kind of
terrifying what we know now well yeah i mean talk a little bit about this court case and you know how much they can get away i will do the one argument that has existed since the bill of rights at the fourth amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure and that the government or anyone can just you know stick their hands in your pockets and put a big magnifying glass over your house and see exactly what it is that you're doing but last week the united states court of appeals for the sixth circuit said well maybe there's a little i mean we have any way to any way when you see the word on reasonable. they said well if you're committing a crime in this case distributing marijuana across state lines you shouldn't. apply to you because you're not being reasonable yourself they said that if you. pulled up to you the ruling says that there is no fourth amendment violation because the suspect in this case did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the data given off by his. all and to really
pick your page you go cell phone so if you have a cell phone and you carry it on you and you transmit data across that your transmitting data in a public place you should not think that it's reasonable that we're just going to go ahead and watch you so g.p.s. tracking on cell phones is somehow reasonable average of all last week or two is officials now there is a difference so i mean certainly on one hand we can talk about cell phone tracking and i think a lot of people would find it pretty surprising but when it comes to our actions out on a public street a lot of people are wondering if this is even legal but i want to show a little interest part of an interview with private investigator steve rambam. nor expectation of privacy out on the street drawbridge meeting with people talking to people at this point right now given the.
right account was. at this point at this point any word from approximately fifty ninth street all the way down to the battery your could there is no location of that you can go to all the public street hundred most buildings where you're not being video. so that was a really short part of an interview about talk a little bit about. you know basically steve rambam private investigator says this is totally legal oh it is i mean if you are in a public space like if you watch the rest of the and if you i know it's on the our to you tube channel mr hamdan says that in new york city from battery all the way up to fifty first street you can walk walk anywhere on the street in manhattan without being i don't want to say spied because it's kind of has a negative connotation i mean sure it's not really that friendly but it's very true when you are out in public you can do whatever you want you can follow someone as long as you're not assaulting them you can take photographs you can talk to someone you can do anything but the same reason that why there's been a big of a bit of
a uproar in d.c. in recent weeks and the metropolitan police captain actually had to make a statement saying that when police are acting in their official capacity in the public they can be videotaped because there is no expectation of privacy in the public if you are doing your job in the public we're going to go ahead and people can watch you and which is great for you know bring some accountability to law enforcement but it's you know can work on the other way around you if you're doing anything in the streets anyone can be watching you and that information whether it's willingly collected by law enforcement agencies or volunteers over totally legit to be handed over and the case that we're seeing with this g.p.s. tracking actually i believe it goes back to one thousand nine hundred sixty electronic communications privacy act and we've talked about it a couple of times before. what the e.c.p.a. does is it says if you just get a court order you can go ahead and try to monitor someone's. digital communications so we know whatever it's going to be but the thing about a court order so it's not a subpoena and it's not a warrant you just have
a judge say. sure stamps of paper and you can track someone and with that believe a magistrate judge ruled earlier this year that there's around thirty thousand americans have been surveyed by the united states government in the us you know you there's nothing you can do private on your cell phone there's nothing you private you can do on your streets we should tell our viewers that now there's a the latest push is by law enforcement to be able to surveil people in their vehicles so stay tuned for the next we are out of time and everything yeah are you really all right guys that's going to wrap it up for us here this evening but for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r t america or got our website it's r t dot com slash usa and you should follow me on twitter i'm at christine i want to thank you so much for watching for now have a great night.